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Showing posts from February, 2014

Fig Coconut Truffles

My husband inspired me to make this one. Sometimes he just walks into the kitchen, opens the pantry, takes a few figs, chops them up, and then takes a good amount of shredded coconut and starts munching them together :-). Looking at the way he was enjoying it I figured that the coconut and fig will make a good combo, so I decided to make an easy-to-grab snack with figs and coconut. I also added one more family favorite ingredient to the mix, and there you have the fig coconut truffles ! It might feel a little tricky to form the shape, but you can do it, with some patience. I just did not want to add more figs and make this any more sweeter. At the same time, I wanted to keep it simple and make it with only 3 ingredients, yes.., just 3 simple wholesome ingredients. They are full of energy, good fat, no added sugar, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, oil-free, nut-free and raw :-)

Organic dried Turkish figs - 10Oraganic dried shredded coconut - 2 1/2 cupsOraganic raw cacao …

Raw Pad Thai Sauce

I am revisiting my sauce from Raw Pad Thai Salad. This sauce is made with almonds and coconut and flavored with lemon grass. I wanted to use hemp as a topping for my pad thai, so the sauce is made lighter compared to my older version.

Raw almonds - a big handfulShredded coconut - 2 TbsLemon grass  -1 stalk Tamarind - 1 Tbs (tamarind seeds removed, not extract) Dates - 1-2 Green chilly - 1-2 Garlic  - 1-2 clovesGinger - 1 Tbs (chopped)Apple cider vinegar - 1 Tbs Pink Himalayan salt - as per tasteDirections:
Soak almonds, tamarind and dates overnight or for a few hours. When ready to make the sauce, add the soaked ingredients to a blender jar. Add coconut, chopped garlic, ginger, lemon grass cut into big chunks, apple cider vinegar and salt.Blend till nice and creamy.Add to your noodles.For a grain free, egg free and soy free version of Pad Thai as shown in the picture, I used steamed yam noodles along with some raw carrot noodles. I served it on steamed collard leaves and top…

Gluten-Free Herb Bread

This can be recorded as my first successful gluten-free bread :-). Though none of us are gluten intolerant, we have been reading a lot about the adverse impacts that gluten can have on our health, especially on our gut. We have been trying to avoid the modern variety of wheat as much as possible and trying to replace it with more ancient wheat varieties like rye, kamut, spelt, freekeh, farro, etc. I also wanted to venture into completely gluten-free baking and see if we'd like it, taste wise and on our body.

I have been browsing thru a lot of gluten-free flour mix recipes and gluten-free bread recipes. One thing I have found very common in almost all of them is the over-use (if I could say that) of starch, be it potato starch or tapioca starch or corn starch. I had to rule out corn starch, as we pretty much have a ban on corn/soy products in my kitchen :-). Potato or tapioca starch, well, I am not convinced on the use of 1:1 ratio of four to starch. Is it even worth trying to make…

Roasted Taro & Quinoa Salad

What comes to my mind when I think about Taro a.k.a Chembu in my language? All the traditional South Indian dishes that we make with it like pulissery, olan, pulinkari, puzhukku and many more. So how about making a warm salad with taro? I said warm, so it is not a raw salad, I am going to cook it :-).
Taro is a nutrient rich root vegetable to include in your diet. It helps lower blood pressure, helps boost immunity with multiple vitamins, has low sodium, rich in fiber and has low glycemic index which is a plus too. Also, like some other types of yams, it is a natural source of phytoestrogen which helps to  balance the estrogen levels in women. Have mood swings or other PMS? Start eating some taro ;-) 
So this salad is my way to include taro in my regular weekday lunch salads. I am using pan roasted taro along with some wilted kale and cooked quinoa.. yum! 

For the Salad: Taro - 4 smallQuinoa - 1 cup (Soaked overnight or 6-8 hours) Red onion - 1 Green chilly - 3-4Garlic - 3-4 clovesKale …

Quick Hemp Cashew Dip/Dressing

Though we got introduced to hemp about a year ago, it is only recently that we started enjoying it, so much that we are trying to use it as much as possible. And why not, it is so good for you, being one of the best sources for plant based protein, perfect omega 6 to omega 3 ratio and a good source of essential fatty acids, magnesium and much more..This  recipe is flexible to be used as a dip or as a salad dressing, a perfect replacement for a blue cheese dip. It can also be made completely raw and vegan by replacing the yogurt with the same amount of coconut milk, add a tablespoon of coconut kefir for your doze of pro-biotic.

Organic raw hemp hearts - 1/4 cupOrganic raw cashews - 1/4 cup (recommended soaking for a few hours)Organic homemade yogurt - 1/4 cupRed pearl onions - 2-3 Garlic cloves - 1-2Organic raw apple cider vinegar - 1 TbsBlack pepper corns - a fewSea salt - as per taste
You may want to slice the onion and garlic and soak in apple cider vinegar for 30 minutes or so. I pre…

Savory Poha Granola (Mixture)

Looking for a quick'n'healthy mid-day snack which is wholesome, tasty and easy to put together? Here is one. This is a healthier variation of the 'spicy mixture' which is a common Indian savory snack. With pumpkin and sesame seeds, coconut and whole grain poha/aval, this is a wholesome mix of good carb, protein and good fat. This can also be made in big batches and served as breakfast, serve it as is, or like granola along with some homemade yogurt.

Poha/Aval/Beaten rice  - 3 cups (I used brown thin poha)Cocconut oil - 2 TbsTurmeric powder - 1/2 tspSea salt - 1/2 tspAsafoetida (hing/kayam) - a pinchCarrom seeds (ajwain/omam) - 1 tsp (crushed coarsely)Green chilly - 1 (Slit into half) Pumpkin seeds - 1/2 cupSesame seeds - 1/4 cupDried shredded coconut - 1 cup

Heat coconut oil on a pan on medium heat. Add salt and all the spices and stir till the spices are mixed well with the oil, for about 2 minutes. You can reduce the heat to low and take care not to burn the spices.Add…

Wholesome Rye Roti Wraps w/ Roasted Eggplant & Acorn Squash Spread

Wraps are my son's favorite packed lunch item. These wraps are made with rye and sprouted spelt flour, which makes it suitable for everyone including people with slight gluten intolerance. Though I am using acorn squash spread and roasted eggplant, this can be made with other similar spreads (hummus maybe?) and other roasted, steamed or raw veggies. I make 2 or 3 smaller wraps for one serving instead of one gigantic wrap that you would find at a deli or a fresh food outlet. This way it is easier to handle and consume, and you can space them out if you do not want to eat them all at one time. As always, use organic ingredients as much as possible. 

Acorn Squash Spread
Acorn squash - 1/2 smallShredded coconut - 1/2 cup (Fresh or dry)Green chilly - 2-3 (Adjust as per spice level)Lemon juice - from a half a large lemonSea salt - as per tasteVirgin coconut oil - 1 tsp
Wash and peel squash (I leave some peel on, if the squash is small and tender green)Remove the core and seeds  and slice …

Raspberry Filled White Chocolate Coconut Truffles

Looks like I have inspired my Valentine enough that he decided to surprise me with some wonderful raspberry filled white chocolate coconut truffles ♥♥♥ 

Here is his post and recipe...

I've always been a big foodie right from a young age, in fact was a glutton :-). Loved being near the kitchen, but never had the opportunity to cook as I was fortunate to have lived with great cooks, starting with my mom who was a wonderful cook, and then of course with my wife who took that to a different level. I have cooked while I was alone for short periods, but cooking for good cooks can be very challenging and I have not taken up the challenge unless really required. Usually B-Days and V-Days are days when I give her a break and take her out for a dinner or buy meaningful gifts (like a Vitamix :-)). This time for V-Day I thought of venturing into the kitchen to make an interesting dessert with white chocolate that I figured she'd like, and I know that my son likes white chocolate for sure, t…

Wild Mushroom Stew

Are mushrooms vegetarian or non-vegetarian? They definitely are not animals, but they are fungi. I know many vegetarians do not consume mushrooms since they don't consider them as vegetables. We love them especially the wild mushrooms, favorites in the family being chanterelle, shiitake and morel. Mushrooms are good source of B vitamins and minerals like Selenium, Ergothioneine, Copper etc. Beta-glucans found in many mushroom varieties have immunity-stimulating effects, builds resistance against allergies and aids in metabolism. All good reasons to include mushrooms in your diet regularly, especially during winter and allergy seasons.

This recipe was something new I made for my vegetarian Christmas breakfast to go with Moroccan Anise bread. This can be served with other types of bread or just as is like a soup. As always use as much as possible all organic ingredients.

Ingredients:  Wild mushrooms (shiitake, cremini, chanterelle) - 1 lb (Sliced thin)Portobello mushroom - 1 small (Ch…

Moroccan Anise Bread

This is something I had made this past Christmas for our vegetarian Christmas breakfast. Interestingly this was on my mind ever since we watched an episode about Morocco on Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, just did not get around to make it till recently. It is a simple flat bread with very minimal ingredients and a straight forward recipe :-). I served it with a Wild mushroom stew, the recipe for which I will post soon.

Organic whole wheat flour - 1 cupOrganic unbleached all purpose flour - 1 cup Sea salt - 1 tspOrganic milk (lukewarm) - 1/2 cup Sesame seeds - 1 tspAnise seeds - 1 tsp (I substituted with carom seeds/ajwain/omam)  Yeast starter:
Organic milk (lukewarm) 1/3 cup Organic raw sugar - 1/2 tspYeast - 1 tsp Directions: Place the warm milk in a small bowl, stir in the sugar and then mix in yeast, then set aside in a warm place for about 10 minutes, till frothy.In a large bowl, mix together the two flours and salt. Crush anise seeds slightly between your palms and add …

Strawberry 'Cheese' Cake

The classic raw cashew 'cheese' cake with strawberries.. a simple dessert that you can enjoy on Valentine's day or any other day :). I added cacao and coconut to the usual nutty crust since both of them goes well with the strawberry flavor. 
Add the red raspberry sauce and you have a perfect dessert for your valentine :)

 Happy Valentine's Day 

Crust: Raw almonds - 1/2 cupDried shredded coconut - 1/2 cupDeglet noor dates - 10Raw cacao powder - 1/4 cupHimalayan salt - a pinchChia seeds - 2 Tbs

Start pulsing almonds and chia in a dry blender or food processor.Once it resembles a coarse meal, add dates and pulse till dates are mashed and mixed well.Add coconut, cacao powder and himalayan salt and continue till everything is mixed well and starts to come together like a dough.Line a 6 inch cake pan with parchment paper and press the dough into it evenly and keep refrigerated while you prepare the filling.

Raw cashews - 1 cup (soaked for 3-4 hours)Raw honey - 1/4 cupVi…

Cherry Chia Pudding

Looking for a quick'n'healthy Valentine's day breakfast? Here is one.. both my husband and I love chia pudding and we all love cherries. Who does not like Cherries.. but it is very hard to find organic cherries in our area and even when we find them in season, they are so expensive !! That is when Costco comes as a savior. Our local Costco started selling organic frozen berries and organic frozen cherries. I know some people get skeptical when large corporate retailers start selling organic things. They say that when that happens, the organic standard itself can get diluted. I choose to disagree, if a lot of my friends can choose to believe conventional food and believe what food industry says, I can choose to believe USDA organic. It might not be perfect, but there is some level of standard. Also as more people demand organic, it will bring about a change for the better.

Now coming to the chia pudding, this can be put together the night before and left on your counter to…

Quick Coconut Barfi

My son had to do a presentation on Indian cuisine as part of their geography class on the Indian subcontinent. His teacher suggested that it would be great if I could bring some fresh Indian food to the class for the students to sample. Since it was a morning class, I thought of making a sample breakfast, one from the south and one from the north. So I made Idli and tomato Chutney from South India, and stuffed Parathas from North India. I also wanted to make something from Kerala that represented the essence of Kerala, and what better item can represent Kerala better than a coconut :-). Also wanted to do a dessert and so decided to make coconut Barfi made with just 2 ingredients, and both ingredients based out of coconut. It is easy to make and does not deviate from the quick'n'healthy approach. Though it is sweet, it does not have any refined sugar, I used organic coconut palm sugar. Then, as always, I made mini-servings so that my son's friends don't get a sugar rus…

Bisi Bele Baath w/ Adzuki Beans & Black Rice

Here is one more traditional South Indian recipe called Bisi Bele Baath, with a Quick'n'Heatlhy face-lift :-). Bisi Bele Baath translates to hot lentil rice. Instead of the usual rice-lentil combo, I am using black rice and adzuki beans, so that we get more whole grains and legumes. Also, just like any other recipe, I am splitting the cooking process into a few chunks so as to not overcook any ingredients. The first step, as always is soaking my rice and grains hours before cooking :-). 

Before I write the recipe, I want to provide some background on soaking grains. In the recent past, I have been reading a lot about soaking whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, and why is it important. Let us talk a little bit about that here: Initially, when we started learning about wholesome eating, we gradually made our switch from white rice to brown, red, black and other whole-grain varieties of rice. Also switched from white bread to wheat bread, and then to homemade whole-grain bread;…

Fig Goji Coconut Brittle Bites

Looking for ways to include goji berries into your diet? Here is an awesome way, make some brittle bites with goji berries, figs, coconut and cacao butter. It might seem unconventional to make brittles without any nuts, but then quick'n'healthy is all about simple & healthy cooking, and nothing conventional ;-)

Note: If you feel that cacao butter is expensive, you could replace cacao butter with coconut oil and you will get very close results.

Ingredients: Goji Berries - 1/2 cup Dried Turkish figs - 10Dried shredded coconut - 1 cupChia seeds - 1/4 cupPink Himalayan salt - a pinchCacao butter  - 1/2 cup (shavings from raw cacao butter block)Raisins/Goji berries - handful (optional)

Directions: Chop figs roughly and add them to a dry blender jar or food processor along with goji berries, chia seeds and salt. Pulse till everything is coarsely ground. Add coconut and continue pulsing till coconut a incorporated well and everything starts to come together. Transfer to a bowl, add t…

Green Mango Guacamole

Indians love Mango, the king of fruits, and in any form :-) - green(unripe), ripe, raw, cooked, pureed, pickled, you name it. Our family is no exception. The health benefits of unripe green mangoes include, abundance of Vitamins, rich in fibre content, antioxidant properties, highly alkalizing and so on. Good reasons to include them in your diet when they are available. I try to include them a lot in Indian cooking and in some salads, dips and sauces outside of Indian cuisine as well. Here is good old guacamole given a facelift with the addition of crunchy green mango.
Avocado - 2 smallGreen (unripe) mango - 1 mediumYellow onion - 1/2 smallTomato - 1/2 mediumGreen chilly - 2 Sea salt - as per taste Olive oil - 1 TbsChopped cilantro - 1/4 cup
Peel and deseed mango, chop really fine.Chop onion, tomato, and green chillies. Take the meat out of avocados. Reserve a half of the chopped mango and a couple of tablespoons of chopped onion.Add everything else to a blender jar, and blend on low s…